Sat, March 02, 2024

“Oh No, Not Again!”

Is it just me, or…

“Oh No, Not Again!”

“If I see that Kohl’s commercial one more time, I’m going to scream,” she said from a far-away city last November.

I had no idea what she was talking about. Clearly the Kohl’s marketing algorithm had found her and her favorite platforms, while the same software knew there wasn’t much gold to be found from me and my channels.


The question is, what’s the sweet spot of an effective video/commercial performance life before it loses its power to persuade?

Remember when you were a teenager and fervently watched your favorite song climb the charts, only to predictably fade away? You didn’t think of it this way, but you were witnessing the Law of Diminishing Returns. Those things which at first delight, do so to an ever-lessening degree over time.

So it is with your ad. Any ad. The challenge is when to, “Leave ‘em laughing” and move on to fresher content.

Naturally, the business side of you hates this. Ad creation isn’t cheap, and in a perfect world you’d lay out the money to make one and it’d run forever. This is why those of us who pay attention to such things often drive around the CSRA banging on our dashboards, begging you to freshen this commercial we can almost recite by heart. Everyone else is just ignoring it.

Yes, at a certain point your commercial not only fails to persuade, it annoys. And too, when a company succumbs to the temptation to revive or continue running an ad that’s worn out its welcome, they hope you don’t notice that they’re also telegraphing to the world they’re in a budget crunch.

So where’s that length-of-run sweet spot? There are variables.

Did you employ humor in the commercial? Because jokes wear out fairly quickly, this type of commercial should be replaced the soonest. I’d ballpark a month, at best.

What was the intensity level of your commercial’s play schedule? If you’ve carpet bombed a certain platform or two, regular freshening is imperative.

Is your ad seasonal? Does the copy read, “With spring just around the corner…” and it’s still playing in June? If true, your ad is embarrassing you.

If you don’t utilize an agency, but instead deal directly with a media rep, here’s a heads-up: your rep is juggling many clients and she’s beyond busy, so it’s only human that she’s going to be consumed by her concerns in the moment and not thinking about you and how long your ad has been running. Stay in touch with her. She’ll take your silence to mean you’re happy, when in truth you may be closer to being that restaurant patron whose server hasn’t noticed his water glass is empty.

So let’s be helpful. A wide sampling of online opinion, together with my own experience suggests that if you’re running a generic ad at an average level of play, three months should be the outer edge of your spot’s exposure.

If your commercial involves any of the added factors listed above (humor, intensity of run, seasonality and other potential annoyances) then common sense kicks in here. Believe it or not, even your humble ad has to survive in a show business world whose first dictate is not overstaying your welcome. Instead, leave ‘em laughing.

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